Category Archives: Mr. Adair’s Classroom

“Where do we begin Mr. Adair?”

“At the beginning, ” he said. And throughout the year that I was under his tutelage – he would continue to challenge me to, “Never stop searching for truth.” In this endeavor, we provide – once again – the writings of many writers – many of whom I have known for years – providing historical lessons of import and understanding – little of which is addressed in our “classrooms” today.

John Quincy Adams signs the Tariff of Abominations

On March 19, 1828, John Quincy Adams signed legislation that would come to be known as the Tariff of Abominations. The law was one of the early dominoes that fell and eventually pushed our nation toward Civil War.

Watercolor of the U.S. Capitol (1828), by John Rubens Smith

The legislation came at the end of Adams’s single term in office. He’d been elected in somewhat unusual circumstances. The Electoral College vote did not produce a majority winner; thus, the election was pushed into a secondary procedure known as the House contingent election. Adams was selected by congressmen! His opponent, Andrew Jackson, was livid. Continue reading

The Report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the President’s Message

Relates to the Affairs Between the The Confederate and United States

Wait, but doesn’t the righteous cause myth say the war was somehow “about slavery!” Doesn’t the righteous cause myth say the tariff had nothing to do with secession and war??? Doesn’t the righteous cause myth state that all this talk about tariff concerns were just a post war embellishment to cover up slavery as the cause of secession???

The Confederate Committee on Foreign Affairs regarding the cause of secession: “The tariff alone, would have been ample cause for a separation of the Southern from the Northern.” This speech was presented at Montgomery, Alabama on May 1, 1861. ~ Rod B. O’Barr
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History Lesson on Slavery: Why There Can’t Be Slavery Reparations

When we think about racial inequality, do we blame everyone in the country, or do we research the truth?

The Democratic Party enjoys votes from the black community, the very people it tried to keep enslaved for most all of its entire history. Opposition to school choice by Democrats has kept blacks in failing schools.

Over the past few years Americans have been hearing about possibly having to pay for slavery reparations to the descendants of slaves that have long since passed. Recently to the tune of 6.2 quadrillion dollars. This article will show why said reparations will be widely voted against. Continue reading

Historical Ignorance and Confederate Generals

The Confederacy has been the excuse for some of today’s rioting, property destruction and grossly uninformed statements. Among the latter is the testimony before the House Armed Services Committee by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley in favor of renaming Confederate-named military bases. He said: “The Confederacy, the American Civil War, was fought, and it was an act of rebellion. It was an act of treason, at the time, against the Union, against the Stars and Stripes, against the U.S. Constitution.”

There are a few facts about our founding that should be acknowledged. Let’s start at the beginning, namely the American War of Independence (1775-1783), a war between Great Britain and its 13 colonies, which declared independence in July 1776. The peace agreement that ended the war is known as the Treaty of Paris signed by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Jay and Henry Laurens and by British Commissioner Richard Oswald, on Sept. 3, 1783. Article I of the Treaty held that “New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, to be free sovereign and Independent States.” Continue reading

Disadvantage and high land prices almost always precedes collapse

If this economic climate feels familiar to you, that’s because we have been here before…

The examination the historical red flags that preceded crises dating back to the Roman Empire.

You’ve got to stand back and not bury your head in inconsequential detail if you want to understand history. Land and poverty are always key.

Pax Romana
The Roman Empire was destroyed by having spread its powerful and expensive military too thinly to support counter-productive property bubbles at home. Debt was partly serviced by military plunder of the resources from conquered nations. Although the empire battled on–so to speak–for another three centuries following the death of Pliny the Elder at the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, he had understood the damage land speculation was doing to the nation. It had destroyed it: “Latifundia perdidere Italiam“. The building of great estates came at an enormous cost to an impoverished middle class and to the agricultural poor, the latter who flooded into Rome for succour. In rent-seeking economies, it seems farmers will always do it hard whilst the city flourishes. Continue reading

Veterinary Care on Custer’s Campaigns

Look back on our struggle for freedom,
Trace our present day’s strength to its source;
And you’ll find that our pathway to glory
Is strewn with the bones of a horse.


The Union Cavalry numbers during the first two years of the Civil War did not exceed 60,000 men. But yet 284,000 horses perished in the service of the Cavalry, few of them in battle. In the winter of 1863-1864 alone in the Union forces in Tennessee, 30,000 horses were lost. Why? Inadequate veterinary care. It wasn’t just “inadequate.” It was breathtakingly, completely absent.

When the war started, there was not one single veterinarian in service anywhere in the Army. The quartermaster had the responsibilities of procurement, distribution, and supplying feed and care. And, each company usually had a farrier, but his responsibility ended after a horse was shod. Continue reading

The Black Slave-owner

William Ellison was one of the wealthiest men in the South as well as being a black, former slave. He owned cotton gins, plantations, and 68 slaves… and from accounts of the time, he wasn’t very nice…

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They Thought They Were Free

History repeats because human nature remains the same…

But Then It Was Too Late

What no one seemed to notice,” said a colleague of mine, a philologist, “was the ever widening gap, after 1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know, it doesn’t make people close to their government to be told that this is a people’s government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing, to do with knowing one is governing.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it. Continue reading

JFK’s Cold War Chains

President John F. Kennedy and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev took the measure of each other when they met for the first time, in Vienna in 1961. (Google Images)

Editor’s note: The past is prologue. The stories we tell about ourselves and our forebears inform the sort of country we think we are and help determine public policy. As our current president promises to “make America great again,” this moment is an appropriate time to reconsider our past, look back at various eras of United States history and re-evaluate America’s origins. When, exactly, were we “great”?
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Don’t Cheer Woodrow Wilson’s Cancellation

Rather than taking scalps of our own, what the right needs is an arms-linked defense of our history, culture, art, and institutions, imperfect though all that might be.

First things first: Woodrow Wilson was a deplorable bigot and one of the worst presidents in American history. He re-segregated the federal government, glamorized the Ku Klux Klan, screened The Birth of a Nation at the White House, and opposed Reconstruction and black suffrage (Dylan Matthews has more on Wilson’s racism). In common with many progressive intellectuals of his time, he was a champion of eugenics. He sank the United States into the pointless carnage of World War I. He viewed the Constitution as outmoded and sought to snap its restraints on executive power. Continue reading

From the Boston Massacre to the Boston Tea Party: Massachusetts Kicks Off a Revolution

This famous depiction of the Boston Massacre was engraved by Paul Revere (copied from an engraving by Henry Pelham), colored by Christian Remick, and printed by Benjamin Edes. The Old State House is depicted in the background. / Library of Congress

Different Conceptions of Colonists’ Relationship to Britain

Article by Samuel Adams in the Boston Gazette about the Boston Massacre

Following the the Boston Massacre in 1770, there were different ways in which both onlookers in the British government and the colonists ended up wondering, each one, if the other one was somehow engaged in a plot. Right? And I mentioned that the British were perhaps wondering if this had all been a plot to rob the customs house; the colonists were wondering about the possibility of this being some kind of ongoing plot to subdue and repress the American colonists. So clearly at the end of the lecture from last week you can really begin to sense a growing sense of mounting hostility, even among some people a sense of growing alienation.

And you can hear this on both sides coming from the accounts of the Boston Massacre by both Gage and Adams. And I did mention in class when I read from them that they were of course writing with a purpose in mind so they were interested in being particularly bold and dramatic in what they were saying. Gage really had to excuse what happened and Adams was trying to promote people to get upset about what had happened, but even so you can hear even just in the way that they framed their accounts some of what I’m talking about here with growing hostility, growing alienation. Continue reading

Charles Mason: A Voice of Reason

Charles Mason

Today, as it was a hundred and sixty years ago, America stands on the edge of an ever-widening chasm of cultural, ideological, political, racial and sectional divisions. In 1860, there was at least one prominent voice of reason that cried out to end the nation’s mad rush into the abyss, that of Charles Mason of Iowa. Mason was a Northern Democrat who not only understood the conflicting issues that were then pulling the nation apart, but reasonably viewed the rights and wrongs of both secession and slavery, as well as strongly opposing Lincoln’s invasion of the South to militarily force the departed States back into the Union. Like many others in both the North and South, Mason did not approve of secession, but felt that as there was nothing in the Constitution to bar a State from abrogating its contract with America and peacefully withdrawing from the Union, that it was solely a matter for the people of each State to decide on their own. His fervent hope though was that if secession did become a reality and a new Southern nation created, that the two countries could then begin to negotiate their differences in a peaceful manner, somehow resolve them and ultimately reunite. Continue reading

1864 ~ Gold Speculation

The Union’s financial success depended on military success. As presidential aide John Hay wrote in an anonymous newspaper article in January 1862 when any movement by the Union Army was stalled: “The Secretary of Finance has displayed wonderful zeal and ability in filling a bankrupt treasury and supplying the sinews of war. In this respect, Mr. Chase has accomplished a herculean task, but all his plans and efforts will end in ruin unless followed by wholesome legislative enactments and decided military movements. Already the treasury notes have commenced to depreciate, and a few months of Congressional and military inaction, they will sink to a level with the old Continental Scrip or the assignats of the French Revolution.” Continue reading

Juneteenth: Our Other Independence Day

Two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, American slavery came to an end and a celebration of freedom was born

Since this article was first published in 2011, Juneteenth celebrations have attracted increased attention around the nation. According to the National Juneteenth Observance Foundation, 45 states and the District of Columbia had, by 2017, passed legislation officially recognizing the holiday. With the current unrest over the killing of another African American man at the hands of the police, the pervasive scars of the nation’s long history of enslavement and racism has again dominated the news. Protests across the country have brought renewed attention to the holiday, as has President Trump’s recent announcement of a campaign rally being held in Tulsa, itself the site of a horrific race massacre, on Juneteenth.

Amid all of this, not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic that is disproportionately affecting the country’s black population, Americans have even more reasons to continue learning about the roots of racism in American history. We must confront the great contradiction in our past—that a “nation conceived in liberty” was also born in shackles.
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The pardon of Jefferson Davis and the 14th Amendment

On October 17, 1978, President Jimmy Carter officially restored the full citizenship rights of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis, signing an act from Congress that ended a century-long dispute.

Davis is most remembered today as one of the leaders of the Confederacy, along with General Robert E. Lee. In 1976, Lee’s citizenship was restored by Congress, also about a century after Lee’s death after the Civil War. The restoration of Davis’ citizenship soon followed.

In posthumously restoring the full rights of citizenship to Jefferson Davis, the Congress officially completes the long process of reconciliation that has reunited our people following the tragic conflict between the States,” the resolution read on October 17, 1978. Continue reading